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Infection of the upper respiratory tract in cats

The upper respiratory tract of the cat - the nose, throat and paranasal sinuses - are susceptible to infections caused by a number of viruses and bacteria.

What causes upper respiratory tract infections in cats?

Undoubtedly, viruses are the most common cause of infections of the upper respiratory tract in cats. Calicivirus of cats and herpes virus of cats account for 80-90% of all upper respiratory infections, and predominate in shelters, nurseries and houses with a large number of cats. These viruses can be transmitted from cat to cat during sneezing, coughing, while caring for the fur or sharing bowls for feed and water. Once infected, a cat can be a lifelong carrier, and although it may not show clinical symptoms, it can transmit viruses to other animals. Cats often develop bacterial infections after these common viral infections.

There are also infections of the upper respiratory tract, which are originally caused by bacteria. Chlamydia and Bordetella are also often found in animals in shelters and other places where there are many cats. These are bacterial infections. Bordetella is more common in cats than in dogs. Usually it is associated with stress and close living conditions.

What are the main symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections?

Symptoms vary depending on the cause and location of the infection, but some of the common clinical symptoms of upper respiratory tract diseases in cats include:

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Discharge from the nose
  • Cough
  • Transparent or colored discharge from the nose
  • Emetic movement, drooling
  • Fever
  • Loss or loss of appetite
  • Rapid breathing
  • Ulcers in the mouth and mouth
  • Mowing eyes or eye rubbing
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Depression

Are certain cats prone to infections of the upper respiratory tract?

Age, vaccination status and physical condition play a role in cat's susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections, but cats living in homes where there are many cats, or shelters, are most susceptible. Veterinarians have found that stress plays a role in the occurrence of outbreaks of upper respiratory tract infections, and cats in a shelter, nursery or hotel for animals usually experience severe stress. Cats that recover from an upper respiratory infection become carriers, they may experience recurrences during stress.

Certain breeds like the Persians and other flat-faced breeds are predisposed to the development of upper respiratory tract infections due to the structure of the muzzle.

What if I think my cat has an upper respiratory tract infection?

If you think that a cat suffers from an upper respiratory infection, it is important to show it to a veterinarian. A brief check with a veterinarian will help determine if a cat needs medication, if it has fever or dehydration. Do not make the diagnosis yourself, as the cat can be contagious and need isolation, antibiotics and additional veterinary care.

How are upper respiratory tract infections treated in cats?

A veterinarian will prescribe the best course of treatment for your cat, which may include medication, isolation, rest, and additional nutrition and fluid intake.

What happens if the upper respiratory tract infection is not treated?

Some untreated upper respiratory tract infections can go into pneumonia or cause serious complications, such as blindness or chronic breathing problems.

How to prevent infections of the upper respiratory tract?

  • Keep the cat at home to minimize the risk of communicating with infected animals.
  • Isolate properly infected cats to protect other animals living in the same place.
  • Minimize stress.
  • Do to the cat all the vaccinations recommended by your veterinarian. Inoculations from upper respiratory tract infections in cats may not prevent infection, but they help alleviate the disease in some cases.
  • Regular check-ups at the veterinarian and prevention can help early detect and treat diseases. The best protection of cats from infections of the upper respiratory tract is a healthy immune system.
  • If you take a lot of cats, observe hygiene and wash your hands thoroughly.
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